Officials work out details of Homeland Security plan

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Officials are trying to work out the mechanics of allowingBrookhaven-Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey tobe their Homeland Security coordinator in conjunction with hisother duties.

Currently, County Administrator David Fields is the county’scoordinator while Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson and FireChief Paul Cartwright jointly serve as the city’s coordinators.Having a coordinator is a required part of getting federal HomelandSecurity funding for local measures.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) ExecutiveDirector Robert Latham told city and county officials Monday thatemergency management is the best place for homeland securitycoordination. He said emergency management officials already workwith law enforcement, fire and medical services.

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“I see them as the glue that holds the other disciplinestogether,” Latham said.

Latham added that there is a bit of a “disconnect” incommunities where homeland security measures are not under theemergency management umbrella. He said working together requiresputting aside political differences and turf battles to do what’sbest for citizens and homeland security efforts.

Henderson agreed.

“It would be a lot better if the city and county would gettogether and have one coordinator,” the chief said.

While Galey is the man being considered, supervisors Mondayexpressed concerns about his accumulated overtime in his otherduties. In addition to volunteer firefighting, Galey is officiallythe county’s civil defense director and safety coordinator.

“I just don’t see how you do it,” Moak told Galey.

In addition to other funding, the county has received an extra$2,600 from the state. That money must be matched with local fundsfor a $5,200 total.

There was some consideration given to using part of the extrafunds as a pay increase for Galey, although there was noconsensus.

Supervisors agreed to have Moak and Walker meet with cityofficials to decide on a coordinator. Aldermen Bob Massengill andTom Smith, who attended the county meeting Monday, were named ascity representatives last night.

The county board also approved Board Attorney Bob Allen meetingwith Galey to explore the possibility of trimming some of hisduties. Allen voiced some displeasure with the increasing role ofhomeland security in government operations.

“Homeland security is trampling on the rights of all of us,”said Allen, adding that having one person in charge in emergenciesremoves elected officials from the mix.

In another personnel matter Monday, sheriff’s departmentnarcotics officer Chris Picou presented a proposal to the board forhim to purchase is drug dog Carlo for $1,500. The county purchasedthe dog for $5,100, but it still needs to be trained for drugenforcement activities.

Picou, a six-year veteran with the department, said he does notplan to stay beyond the end of the year. He said he is consideringseveral options and offers from other law enforcement agencies.

“I just think it’s the best thing for me to do,” Picou said.

Supervisors did not act on Picou’s proposal.

Also Monday, supervisors discussed a new location for theDistrict 1 county barn. The county has been leasing space at nocharge on District 1 Supervisor Vedia Givens’ property, but she isnot returning next year and a new site is needed.

One proposal yesterday was a five acre-site on 16th Section landnear East Lincoln Road and Melvin Mason Road. The cost would be$500 a year.

Due to redistricting, the site is in District 3 and there wassome concern whether it could be used for District 1’s barn. Allensaid he believed it could be done, but he wanted to review AttorneyGeneral’s opinions on the matter.

Fields encouraged board members to start thinking about a newbarn site.

“We’re not bad pressed for time, but we do need to start gettingsomething in the works,” Fields said.